[ecko_quote source="1 Thessalonians 5:16-18"]Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you [/ecko_quote]
How can you know that you are in the centre of God’s will at every moment and have no doubts about it? The answer to this great question is clearly given in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians: “Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 These 5:16-18)
These verses are clear to understand without any Greek interpreter. They guarantee that we are in the centre of God’s will at all times when we are rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. We protest, “that is too simple; I have got to do something about and louse it up somehow”. But it is right there in the Word of God. Crystal clear!
An important part of doing God’s will has to do with the use of a very small organ of our bodies, the tongue. The tongue has everything to do with the course of our life. In the Book of James, God says “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. … and the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell (3:2-6)
Here God is saying that the tongue directs the course of our lives much as a rudder does a ship, or a bit in the horse’s mouth guides the horse. A couple of ounce of steel in a thousand- pound horse does not sound crucial, but that is how you steer him. The tongue is to the body and to the Christian life, as the rudder is to the ship, and the bit to the horse. When the tongue is used negatively, as “a world of iniquity”, it produces a lot of things that are second best.
If I am a Christian and I am complaining and grumbling, the world does not know that I am any different from pagans. My spirituality is gone, my testimony has departed, and my effect in dispelling the world of darkness has flown the coop because I have chosen to magnify the problem by motor-mouthing about it instead of magnifying the answer by praising Jesus.
When, right in the midst of whatever is going on, I say “Lord, I am going to thank you for one reason, because “You said to, “immediately I enter into a new dimension. Do you think it sounds scary, altogether crazy, to praise God when things are falling apart all around? That is all right. Nowhere does God say that praising Him will make any sense to finite minds; He just says,” Do, it. And then you can know that you are in my will”. Where we are in His will, we are in line to experience perfectly answered prayers.
[ecko_quote source="Isaiah 41:13"]For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee [/ecko_quote]
There is no panic in heaven, only plans. That is how God operates- no panic. Did you know the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) never meet in an emergency session? God has never stepped down from His throne. Jesus has not left His right hand, and the Holy Spirit has not stopped His ministry in the lives of believers including reproving the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8)
Dear brothers and sisters you must refuse to listen to Satan's lies of fear, discouragement, and despair. Our Lord Jesus clearly explained His mission statement and so did Satan in John 10:10 “The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly”.
This scripture clearly defines what God does and what the devil does. It divides what they do into two categories, and everything that happens in life can be placed in one of these categories. Let me explain.
The thief is not your friend. He is your enemy. The thief represents Satan and John 10:10 gives his mission statement -- to steal, kill, and destroy. But who is it that he wants to steal from? It's you! Who is it that he wants to kill? It's you! Whose life does he want to destroy? Yours, mine and every other born-again believer. Satan is the prince of darkness, the father of lies, and the source of chaos, confusion, and destruction. Jesus said in John 8:44 that he was a murderer and that there was no truth in him.
On the other hand, God sent His Son so that the world would not perish but have life, abundant and everlasting (John 3:16). After Jesus had stated Satan's mission statement, he proclaimed His own. The mission statements are completely contrasting. While Satan's purpose is death, destruction, sickness, and lack in our lives, Jesus came to bring life, restoration, and abundance.
A mission statement can be described as a guideline to keep members and users aware of an organisation's or leader's purpose." Jesus clearly states His purpose. He came to give life.
So the next time you hear someone say, "Is it God or is it the devil," the answer will be clear. Which category does "it" come under? If it steals in any way, if it brings death or leads to death, if it destroys or brings destruction, it's the devil. If it brings abundant life full of shalom, it's Jesus. Jesus is not the thief. Jesus is not the one who brings death and destruction. Jesus is not the destroyer. Jesus brings life. When a person attributes the work of God to the devil or a work of the devil to God, he is in very dangerous territory.
Satan’s favourite tool and in fact most workable tool in his hands is “to keep the children of God in discouragement”. When we are in the discouraged state, we will not accomplish anything, and we would be easily defeated in every area by our enemy Satan. The discouraged army would lose battle quickly. Therefore, never allow discouragement in your heart. As a father to my children I always encourage my children and sow the seed of encouragement to defeat the Satan’s most workable tool.
You are a victor and not a victim. Moreover, God is in control! Repeat the following throughout the day today, “God is in control of my life. He will not leave me. His right hand will sustain me all the length of my days."
Source: Pastor Jonah Ravinder and Pastor Larry Ollison
[ecko_quote source=" Roman 8:28"]And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose [/ecko_quote]
The only survivor of a shipwreck once washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon to call out for help, but no help was in sight. Exhausted! He eventually managed to build a tiny hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements and to store few of his possessions. Then one day, after gathering some food, he arrived home and found his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how could You do this to me! he cried.
However the next day, early in the morning, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” the weary man asked his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal”, they replied.
It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we should never lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time when your little hut is burning to the ground – it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
King David introduces us to a fundamental attribute of God. His complete sovereignty. In other words, He has full authority and control over all human beings and every aspect of the universe (Psalm 103:19-22). “Luck” and “good fortune” have no place in discussions about God. To speak in terms of luck is to say there is no plan for our lives or the world at large. In that case, people would simply be victims of their circumstances – sometimes happy, but usually unfulfilled and always afraid of the future.
The Lord intends for us to live another way, confident of His absolute and loving control over every aspect of our existence. When we trust in the Father’s sovereignty, we understand two assurances. First, He is intimately and continuously involved in our daily life. No matter how bleak our situation may seem, the Lord never stops providing, protecting, and caring for every believer. He knows what we need for today and every one of our tomorrows.
Second, the Bible teaches that God will work out every circumstance for our benefit- without exception! As the situation becomes demanding, more painful, or seemingly impossible, our confidence may flag, but Romans 8:28 promises a divine purpose to each life event. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
We are not “lucky” but blessed. As blessed children of a sovereign God, we can live confidently in the knowledge that He is in control. Trust Him to carry you through whatever trial stands in your way.
[ecko_quote source="Ecclesiastes 7:29"]Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright. But they have sought out many schemes[/ecko_quote]
I read a story about a mother who had a daughter. As the mother was busy with her routines, every now and then, her daughter would distract her. To keep the daughter busy, she tore a page on which was printed the map of the world. She tore it into pieces and asked her daughter to go into her room and put them back together to make up the map again. You can call it, the easier version of a jigsaw puzzle. The mother assumed her daughter would surely take the whole day to get this done and that she could carry on with her work without any distractions. But her daughter came back within minutes with a perfect world map.
The curious and confused mother asked her daughter how she managed to do it so quickly. She giggled and said, “Oh Mom, there is a man’s picture on the other side of the paper. I made the man’s picture perfect to get the map right. The moral of the story is when the man (humankind) is placed uprightly in their position all the problems of the world would be solved. The problems are not with the world but the ones who live in the world. King Solomon with his great wisdom in discerning things concluded that God made man upright but man sought several evil schemes to corrupt his nature and deviate from God’s will. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). The nature of man has become corrupt and lost conscious to discern good and holy. Google's motto at one stage was "Don't be evil!" but their recently restructured company no longer holds this motto. How that relates to this; that's something I would leave for each of you to draw your own conclusions on.
We could see the consequences of this disobedient nature and corrupt schemes. In so many families, there is no peace. They are either troubled with parents or children. Separation and divorce had become the routine of life. Several broken families exist and we have single parents raising up the kids. Most of these kids easily deviate from the course and end up in wrong places because of the lack of role model in the family. We are living in this age and culture where the wickedness is only gaining magnitude. If parents are not God fearing, then how can we expect children to fear God? When parents are living a loose life, surely their children will follow them. It would be too late to correct or change life when the reaping time comes. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). Probably you are not pleased to read this devotion, but my dear ones it is my responsibility to warn you. Or else, I would be responsible and am judged.
To sum up, in Romans 7:18, Apostle Paul cried out to God stating “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it”. I discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong”.
What the solution then. The solution is provided in v24 "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our Lord provided the way by putting His life as a ransom and redeemed our souls from sin and death. Furthermore, He provided us with Holy Spirit God who gives us the power to say no to sin. Through Him - Holy Spirit, we can put to death the deeds of our sinful nature (Romans 8:13). Take care your children now; lead them in a Godly way so that they would remember you and appreciate your sacrifices. They will celebrate your role model and keep up this legacy you leave behind for generations to come.
[ecko_quote source="Matthew 11:25"]At that time Jesus declared, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children[/ecko_quote]
In our spiritual relationship, we do not grow step by step; we are either there, or we are not. God does not cleanse us any further than what He already has. When we are in the light; we walk in the light. When we walk in the light, we are cleansed from all our sin, and we are promised that He will fellowship with us (1 John 1:9). It's only the matter of time for us. You see in the heavenly realm; there is no such thing as time. Things occur without being bound to the constraint we know as time. With obedience, your relationship is perfected with God. Turn away from that, death and darkness take over instantaneously. Jesus put it this way, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad (Matthew 12:30).
All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them opened up to you by philosophy/thinking or study of theology. When you obey, a flash of light comes through. You can sense that. Let God’s truth work in you by being soaked in it, not by worrying about it. The ruler of Jews, who was well-educated, Teacher of Israel and Pharisees named Nicodemus was much confused and could not figure it out with his background on how to be born again. Jesus explained to him and during the course, He said one of the lifesaving Word – John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". My friend when you believe and obey God, He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up for your understanding.
People read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit in a critical way but do not understand His working in their lives. However, the obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam. Further, you may say, “I suppose I shall understand these things someday!” My dear ones, you can understand them now. It's isn't study that one does to understand these things, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience and the heaven opens, and the profound truths of God are yours right away. God will never reveal what you know already. Beware of becoming “wise and prudent”, it will deceive you.
If Prophet Jonah had just obeyed the Lord the first time, gone to Nineveh and preached the gospel, he would not have had to go through such an ordeal of being in the belly of a big fish for three days, nor would he have had to face the humiliation because of what he did. Nevertheless, the important thing is that he was obedient, eventually. My friend obedience is only the way for us as to continue our spiritual journey faithfully. Further, most of the stuff we do not know in the life, therefore, trusting His mighty wisdom and power deems to be the best way.
It is much easier to bring a bullock or lamb to be burned upon the altar than to bring every high thought into obedience to God, and to make our will subject to His will. God is more glorified, and self more denied, by obedience than by sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22) Did you know obedience is the fruit of faith?
[ecko_quote source="Genesis 22:2 (NIV)"]Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac--and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."[/ecko_quote]
[ecko_quote source="Genesis 22:5 (NIV)"]He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."[/ecko_quote]
If you read the above verses carefully, you will notice they don't add up. Here is God telling Abraham to take his only son Isaac and sacrifice him there as a burnt-offering to the Lord. Then you come down to verse 5. Now you see Abraham telling his servants that he and his son will go up to the mountain to worship there. He ends the statement by saying, 'We' will come back. This speaks volumes to Abraham's relationship with the God Almighty. Abraham knew God. He knew the works of God in his life. He remembers his past and the promises.
You see God intends each of us to have this kind of relationship with Him. It's like none other. When we get to know God, we get to know His works. A lot of curiosity develops not from the situations we face but more so from the uncertainty that lies behind the scenes. We become restless until we know what we are facing can be overcome, resolved, or accomplished. Now I encourage you to put yourself in the shoes of Abraham. Here is a man who is growing old to have any kids of his own. All the odds are against him. But guess what? He finds comfort knowing that he has God by His side. From the relationship he had with God, he was certain what God said; he will do. He will bring it to pass.
It also shows what we ought to focus on. Abraham didn't focus on the details of what God asked him to undertake. He didn't dwell on how his only son, gifted by God, was going to be taken away from him. Rather, He focused on the workings of God and had faith in Him. It involved Abraham blindly following what God asked Him to do without dwelling on his circumstances. Worship in Hebrew means to depress, i.e. prostrate (in homage to royalty or God): bow (self) down, crouch, fall (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship (Source). I don't know what was going through Abraham's mind. Maybe He was going to plead with God and get His son back. I don't know. Bible doesn't tell us that. But I am sure He was confident God wasn't going to take His son away from Him.
How confident are you in the workings of God in your life? Do you know how God works? Does the Spirit of God reveal to you the heart of God? Do you have the relationship that Abraham had with God? Let's seek to grow in God, to spend more time with Him, and to have Him as the centre of our lives.
[ecko_quote source="Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)"]For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.[/ecko_quote]
[ecko_quote source="Acts 17:25 (NIV)"]And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.[/ecko_quote]
If you've ever seen a cockpit of an aircraft or done some flying yourself, you would see there are two sets of controls. They function in sync with each other. You can push the brakes, and the brakes on the other side are pushed just as much. You can pull the Yoke (steering wheel) up, and the yoke on the other side would reflect this action of yours. This is there to allow both captain and the co-pilot to act in sync and know what each other are up to. When flying aircraft, both the captain and co-pilot must continually talk to each other. They must make sure to inform each other what they are about to do. When taking over the controls, they would say "I have the controls" and the other responds back by saying "You have the controls". It's a two-way communication.
It's very similar between our God and us. It should be a two-way communication. Often, we pray and walk right off to carry on with our day-to-day tasks. We don't allow God to speak to us, but we sure want Him to listen to all we have to say. Sounds unfair? It should because it is unfair. Although this is not what I am trying to focus on today, it's a lesson left for us to learn. What I wanted to point out from the snippet above was the fact that God does not need our "assistance". He is all sufficient, all powerful, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is not looking for our help. We are looking for His.
Quite often, we offer up our request for help and God intervenes. While He is still working on it, we go back and steal it right from His hands or try to assist Him in His work. He doesn't need our "assistance" so we need to stop assisting God. When we submit our petitions before Him, it's a done deal! He'll do what's best for us. All we need to do is to thank Him in faith. If the pilot who has control assists the other or takes over the controls while the other is still flying, the aircraft is bound to crash. Their thoughts are different, and their plan of actions are different. Likewise, let God do His good work in our lives. Our thoughts are not the way He thinks and neither are our ways likened to His.
Do you feel like you're stealing your problems back from God's hands? Or assisting Him while He is at work? Rest assured He has everything under control knowing that He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).